The SubOptic Association, the industry-led, International, non-profit association dedicated to promoting the development and sustainability of global fiber-optic subsea cable and connectivity infrastructure, announces the launch of the SubOptic Foundation.

The SubOptic Foundation is a charitable organization with legal entities in the USA and UK, focused on supporting education and research initiatives designed to lay the groundwork for a better future for the subsea cable industry and the global communications fabric as a whole.

The primary purpose of the Foundation will be to enhance SubOptic’s support of programs focused on education and outreach, with the end goal of increasing awareness, inclusivity and diversity across the industry. It will also take an active role in promoting the industry as an attractive employer and the professional development of those entering the industry.

A secondary, but equally important purpose of the Foundation, will be to drive initiatives that contribute to the long-term health and sustainability of the wider submarine cable industry. As an example, the SubOptic Foundation is especially pleased to have secured a US$200,000 research grant from the Internet Society Foundation, which is funding a study focused on “Decarbonizing Global Cable Network.” The research team will be led by Nicole Starosielski, Associate Professor of Digital Media at NYU. The team includes other university professors from around the globe and members of SubOptic’s Global Citizen Working Group, which aims to “Green the Internet’s Undersea Infrastructure.”   

 “I’m very excited to be part of this great initiative that we hope to develop into a new keystone supporting our industry’s future. We’re also committed to finding new ways to attract and develop diverse talent through the Foundation’s education initiatives,” states Erick Contag, executive chairman of GlobeNet and executive committee President of SubOptic. “The grant Nicole and her team have secured from the Internet Society Foundation provides our Foundation with a great start and set of objectives from which to build upon.”

The Foundation will also continue to co-sponsor and support the Subsea OFC Summer School launched in 2019 in partnership with the Optical Society of America and Google.

“I’m thrilled to have played a small part in supporting the Summer School. Both the first 2019 session and last year’s participants were a truly diverse set of students and industry-sourced faculty from around the globe. We hope to reach an even broader spectrum of students with our 2021 program,” comments Jayne Stowell, strategic negotiator of global infrastructure at Google, “The Summer School’s goal is to increase awareness of and interest in our industry to universities - especially graduate students who may be seeking careers in our fascinating business. To date, we’re proud to have made real inroads in achieving this goal.”

The Foundation Board of Trustees includes Contag, Stowell, Elaine Stafford (DRG Undersea Consulting), Leigh Frame (Xtera) and Ed McCormack (Ciena). A team of preeminent industry veterans has also been recruited as an Advisory Board, to help the Foundation achieve its goals.

McCormack commented, “The Foundation provides the industry with a funding vehicle and tangible development plans to drive awareness and attract new talent.  When I was asked to become a Trustee of the Foundation, I felt it was the perfect opportunity to contribute to the long-term health of our industry.”